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No smoking policy adopted across region

September 08, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Tobacco is taboo on college campuses across the region.

From private schools to community colleges, policies prevent people from lighting up. Some institutions, like Frostburg State University, have decided against selling cigarettes on campus.

Vending machines were carted off several years ago at Hagerstown Community College, which has forbidden smoking in classes and at activities at the school since July 1, 1993.

Because it is a public facility, HCC also abides by state law prohibiting smoking inside college buildings.

"We don't have any policy that you can't smoke on our property as yet," said spokeswoman Patti Churchey. "Like other institutions, surely that could come down the road."

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HCC teaches the benefits of not smoking in its health classes, Churchey said.

At Hagerstown Business College, smoking is permitted only in the campus courtyard, according to President Christopher Motz. Students are not allowed to smoke inside their dorm rooms, but they can on the balconies outside.

Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center is smoke free. At the main campus in Frostburg, the only place smoking is allowed is outside, according to spokeswoman Liz Medcalf.

The ban applies to university automobiles, buses, vans and trucks. The policy says preference will be given to smoke-free environments when the school leases or rents off-campus buildings.

The school announced in August that tobacco products would no longer be sold on campus. President Catherine Gira said the policy made an ethical point.

Frostburg had been making $60,000 to $70,000 a year in tobacco sales and putting the money in its general fund. The university also sponsors programs to help students kick the habit, and Gira said doing both was contradictory.

Frostburg's move followed other state schools such as Salisbury State College, Coppin State College and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, all of which do not sell tobacco products on campus.

Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va., also has a tobacco-free campus. Cigarettes, cigars and similar products are not sold there. Smoking is prohibited in all college buildings except in designated areas.

The policy also applies to vehicles owned, leased or operated by the college. It includes college-controlled locations off campus.

The Washington County Board of Education revised its policy last April to ban smoking 24 hours a day. School Board President Edwin Hayes said the schools are getting tough on smoking scofflaws.

"We've had a no smoking policy for a long time, but now we're getting serious about enforcing it," he said.

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